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September 18, 2005

Chamber Discourages Rush to Litigate in Wake of Hurricane Katrina

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is warning that the financial devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina could be made worse by a rash of lawsuits that will delay and complicate recovery efforts for hundreds of thousands of the storms’ victims. ILR urged citizens and government officials to work together to help the Gulf Coast region recover from this disaster, and not rush to the courthouse.

“We’re concerned about the growing number of lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of Katrina,” said Lisa A. Rickard, President of ILR. “For example, last week’s filing by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood against the insurance industry will not help victims’ long-term recovery, and will further burden the state’s already fragile economy.”

In addition to the Mississippi AG lawsuit, other Katrina-related litigation has already been filed or is being contemplated across the region. Just last week a class action lawsuit was filed in Louisiana blaming various companies for the environmental destruction caused by the hurricane. More lawsuits are expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

“Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst natural disasters in American history and an added tragedy is the fact that many of the storms’ victims are uninsured or underinsured,” Rickard said. “The business community is united behind all efforts to quickly and effectively help our fellow citizens recover from this catastrophe, but more lawsuits are not the solution.”

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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